Every fall people dress up their homes and yards for the holidays from Halloween to Christmas. Although decorations may look festive, there are inherent safety issues that come with them, from climbing ladders to overpowering extension cords. Follow these holiday decorating tips to help ensure that you stay safe this holiday season.
Indoor and outdoor lights can pose several risks. You should never just put up lights outside or around a tree without inspecting them first for frayed wires or cracks. Also, you should never hang lights with empty sockets. If you plan on hanging lights, check to see if they were approved by Underwriters Laboratory. If they are, you will notice a “UL” on the tag. This means that your lights have been inspected for safety hazards. Also, if you see a UL, you will notice that it is either green or red. A red UL mark means your lights are proven safe to use both indoors and outdoors, while a green UL means your lights are only safe to use indoors.
If you are going to be decorating the outside of your home with lights and will be climbing up a tree or on to your roof, make sure someone is there to help you. You shouldn’t be climbing ladders to the roof of your home with one hand holding plastic clips and the other holding on to several yards of stringed lights.
Avoid hanging lights on your roof with tacks, nails, or staples. These can not only damage your lights, but they also will damage your roof. Instead, use plastic clips to clip your lights along your eaves and gutters. There are also many different plastic clip options for you to choose from depending on the type of roof you have.
After you layout your lights, keep in mind that you never want to plug more than three strips of lights into the same extension cord. If you do, this could overpower the extension cord and create a higher risk for fires. Place your lights on a timer so that they are not on throughout the night. In addition to a timer, you should always unplug your light display when you leave your house for an extended amount of time.
Lastly, if you notice brittle, detached or damaged shingles while you are hanging you lights, you may want someone to take a look at your roof. The last thing you want to happen this holiday season is to find a leak in your roof after the first snow storm melts away.
It is no secret that Christmas trees are flammable. You should work to make sure your tree is always hydrated and keep it away from heat sources. An alternate option is to purchase a fake tree. This may be controversial in some households, but it is no doubt the safer option. You can even purchase fire-resistant trees that can be used year after year.
If you plan to display inflatable decorations in your yard make sure to plug them into heavy-duty extensions cords. These cords will most likely be running across your yard and be exposed to rain and snows. To avoid tripping over these cords, you should try to avoid placing them in high traffic areas, but if this is not possible, use duct tape to keep them in place and avoid knotting or tangling the cords so they are flush with the ground.
For many of us, the holidays are our favorite time of year and home decorations are part of our traditions. However, don’t overlook the potential hazards that these decorations may bring. Use these holiday decorating tips to ensure a safe and happy holiday season.